The number of soldiers killed recently in #Metele, Mobar Local Government Area, Borno state is still a subject of speculation with the federal government keeping mum on the issue, thereby fueling further speculation
According to reports, the corpses of dozens of soldiers and civilian Joint Task force (JTF) members killed by #BokoHaram in Metele have still not been evacuated.
Troops sent to evacuate the dead soldiers two days later were also attacked. According to a soldier who escaped from the follow-up attack, the evacuation team suffered high casualty as they fled, abandoning their operational vehicles at Metele then trekking 50 kilometers before getting to cross Kauwa, in Kukawa Local Government Area.
“It is devastating. More than 120 killed, including civilian JTF members who used to assist our men,”
“We have recovered close to 120 corpses. The terrorists came in large numbers to attacks them from every angle. They tactically backed out; many are yet to return from the troops who went on the evacuation mission.
As a consequence of the tragedy, President Muhammadu Buhari is set to visit Borno, having cancelled a casual leave he was supposed to embark on from November 27 till December 2.
Meanwhile, the Specialised Tasks, Training, Equipment and Protection International (STTEP), a South African mercenary company, says President Muhammadu Buhari rejected intelligence warnings about operations of Boko Haram in Borno state.
STTEP was employed by former president Goodluck Jonathan in January 2015 to assist the Nigerian army in the war against the insurgents.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, Eeben Barlow, STTEP chairman, said Nigerian soldiers have been reaching out for help since his company’s services were terminated.
Barlow is speaking out in the wake of the deadly killing of Nigerian soldiers by Boko Haram insurgents.
The latest attack in Melete village, Borno, is believed to have led to the death of no less than 100 soldiers.
Weighing in on the development, Barlow said Buhari’s administration did not allow his company to complete the objective of “degrading and destroying” Boko Haram in Borno.
He wrote: “There is, in a purely military sense, no such thing as a ‘technical defeat’—something the President, as an ex-military man ought to know. Sadly, he also chose to make the successes of 7 Infantry Division and 72 Mobile Strike Force (MSF) his own, when it wasn’t.
“President Buhari and his team were, however, part of the political leader group that led the vocal charge about STTEP’s presence in Nigeria. Indeed, they made it known that the company’s presence would not be tolerated under his office.
“The initial 3-phase campaign strategy (known as ‘Operational Anvil’) to degrade and destroy BH in Borno State, was rejected by his advisors.
“Many of the men we trained as part of 72 Mobile Strike Force have remained in contact with us (STTEP), pleading for our return to Nigeria. They have also told us that they have been used to a point of exhaustion.
“Prior to, and following our departure from Nigeria, we issued numerous intelligence warnings to his government. These intelligence warnings were all rejected in favour of a false belief. Neighbouring countries were advised not to listen to us as it was claimed to be a cheap attempt to ‘get a contract’. Chad, Cameroon and Niger are now also reaping the benefits of rejecting intelligence in favour of an agenda-driven narrative.”